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Lysander appoints on-staff engineer

— In an effort to save money, the Lysander Town Board voted 4 to 1 to hire an on-staff engineer.

After reviewing the qualifications of several candidates, the board appointed Al Yaeger, of Oneida. Formerly employed by Barton & Loguidice, Yaeger brings five years of engineering experience specific to Lysander as B&L was the engineering firm of the town’s last administration.

“Having an engineer on staff will be very beneficial,” said Supervisor John Salisbury adding the position is an annual appointment.

Officials set Yaeger’s salary at $80,000. However, until Yaeger passes part two of his Professional Engineering exam (he has already passed the first part of the exam), which he is scheduled to take on April 13, his salary will be reduced to $70,000.

Yaegar will also be paid $10,000 annually for duties associated with the highway department.

The current highway superintendent, Bruce Reeves, will retire at the end of April. Initially, the town appointed Yaegar as deputy highway superintendent during the March 26 board meeting. However, the administration is reconsidering that decision and keeping their options open including the possibility of working with the village of Baldwinsville and the town of Van Buren regarding the future of the highway department.

With benefits totaling $30,084, the town will pay $120,084 annually for the new in-house engineer position with highway department responsibilities. According to the town’s comptroller, the town budgeted $100,000 for engineering costs in the general fund, in addition to $22,137 for special district fees and $8,000 in the part-town funds for 2012. During the board meeting, officials noted the town had spent upwards of $700,000 in annual engineering fees using B&L in the past.

While officials say the appointment will save the town money, some residents questioned the appointment during the board meeting.

“You are over budget except for the retirement of the highway superintendent,” said Rich Lesniak about the salary and budget figures.

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